The illegal use of handheld mobile phones is at epidemic proportions with an estimated 11 million motorists admitting to making or receiving a call while driving in the last 12 months and a shocking five million saying they had taken photos or videos while at the wheel of a moving vehicle.
Research for the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016 has revealed that for some, attitudes towards handheld mobile use have relaxed over the last two years.
In the wake of the research the motoring organisation has called for the government to invest in a high profile awareness campaign to highlight the danger of using a handheld phone at the wheel and to drive home the message that it simply won’t be tolerated.
The use of a handheld mobile phone while driving was made a criminal offence on 1 December, 2003 when it was announced that offenders would receive three penalty points on their licence and a £30 fine rising to a maximum of £1,000.
Almost 13 years later it appears the numbers of offences committed is as rife as ever, if not worse, as drivers appear to be taking ever bigger risks, according to RAC. Newer smart phones also have the ability to distract in numerous other ways compared to those in 2003, it added.
The RAC says that the law and the penalty have failed to have the desired effect and the safety message has not got through to many, perhaps exacerbated by the lack of enforcement and the difficulty in catching offenders.